Mark Kleiman makes an important point about the heroin maintenance study released last week and the flaws in the coverage of the study. (Previous post here.)
John Tierney cites NYT reporter Benedict Carey for the claim that " treating hard-core heroin addicts with their drug of choice seems to work better than treating them with methadone." But neither Carey nor the paper Carey reports on makes any such claim. The study wasn't among "hard-core heroin addicts" generally, but among addicts who had already failed on methadone treatment.
I've devoted a lot of posts to this issue. In spite of what's been suggested in comments, I'm not a one-wayist, but it's hard to see this as anything other than an approach rooted in the idea that these people are beyond help and untreatable. Much of the analysis I've read focuses on social benefits rather than benefits to the individual. When they've tried treating these people with the same methods we've offered physicians and failed, then, maybe, there's a case for experimenting with this kind of approach.